Saturday, July 23, 2011
A Book for Kids whose parents are Sick
"Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?" is a story for all parents struggling to balance a serious health crisis while caring for small children. Told from the child’s point of view, the story shows that what children are told when an adult family member is critically ill may not be nearly as important as how adults tell children this information. What makes this book special and sets it apart from others is that no particular disease or treatment is specified, so it can be a useful resource for all families facing this challenge, regardless of diagnosis. Based on Jenifer's personal experience, "Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?" is intended to support children who are coping with the critical illness of a parent or adult family member, regardless of diagnosis. The book was written specifically for families coping with diseases for which there are scarce resources.
In 2007, at the age of 38, Jennifer Gershman was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare blood protein disorder which, left untreated, is fatal. She was told, “The most effective treatment would be an aggressive course of high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant, which required me to leave my home for a month or longer.”
I struggled with how best to explain my extended absence to my 4 year-old son, Jason, as well as the changes in my physical appearance and abilities he would undoubtedly notice. Without a book to help me, I decided to explain the situation truthfully to my little boy in simple language that he could easily understand. Using the analogy of a weakened superhero, I was able to talk openly with Jason in a positive and upbeat way. The following year, I decided to write ‘the book I could not find’ for other families in a similar situation.
In "Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?" no particular disease or treatment is specified, making the story helpful to any family, regardless of diagnosis. It is my sincere hope that this book will serve as a useful resource for all families facing a similar challenge. The experience was featured on an episode of The Discovery Health Channel’s "Mystery Diagnosis" in 2008.